| Melissa Rayworth |
DECORATING a baby’s room is all about what mum and dad want. But decorating a bedroom for a “tween-age” child is more complicated.
It’s a great place to give growing adolescents some creative freedom. But will they reject at age 12 the colour palette and furniture they begged for when they were 10?
Children grow up fast enough that parents may not want to rush the process by removing all childhood whimsy from their rooms. But we also don’t want to redecorate each time our children get just a bit more mature. So we’re left walking the line between playful and Mum-I-can’t-believe-you-bought-me-this-furniture.
Here, designers Michelle Workman of Michelle Workman Interiors, Brian Patrick Flynn or Flynnside Out Productions and Betsy Burnham of Burnham Design offer advice on designing a tween bedroom that has ample storage, homework space and enough cool style to keep kids happy.
Designer Brian Patrick Flynn recommends using vintage items to decorate an older child’s bedroom as he did here with fun and whimsy that doesn’t feel immature
Kids love colour, but it’s practical to start with a neutral base. Flynn suggests going all-white on walls and ceiling but adding texture “to keep all-white from reading flat or sterile”.
“I use one-inch-by-10-inch pine planks on the walls and install it horizontally,” he says, “then have it all whitewashed or painted solidly. This brings architecture to the room and also creates a linear backdrop for showcasing favorite things”.
Workman recently designed a bedroom for a 10-year-old boy with grey walls and cabinetry. “Grey allows you to layer either cool or warm colours on top,” she says, “whereas beige tends to only work with warm colours, and then the room becomes too warm.”
Another approach: “Red, white and blue has become a modern classic for boys and girls,” Flynn says. “For a masculine touch, I’m a fan of sticking with rich navy and fire-engine red. Girl spaces are an excellent fit for more muted blues such as robin’s egg or sea foam, and more poppy shades of red such as cherry,” he says.
A preteen girl’s bedroom designed by Burnham Design, where books, trinkets, trophies and keepsakes are all displayed and stored neatly thanks to built-in bookshelves
Designer Betsy Burnham filled this bedroom for a preteen girl with white bedding, a white rug and chair and white curtains, then added just one piece of furniture, a bit of paint and a few accessories in the girl’s current favourite colour. The room can easily (and affordably) take on a new look if her taste in colours changes as she grows. PHOTOS: AP
What if your kids have their hearts set on colours you think won’t work?
Respect their input, Burnham says, but adjust the shades as necessary: “It’s your house, too. If you don’t want a school-bus-yellow wall, what can you live with? Maybe a dijon, or maybe the school-bus yellow is his bedside lamp.”
If your daughter wants purple, “maybe it’s a grey lavender”, she says, or another shade of purple that “she won’t get sick of in six months.”
Toys, trophies, books, papers and a whole lot of electronics: Kids have an awful lot of stuff.
Burnham suggests choosing a wall “that can accommodate 18 inches of depth or 22 inches of depth”, and have built-in cabinets and shelves installed.
“Built-in cabinetry is so very handy in a tween room,” agrees Workman. It allows “an easy transition to a teenage space” because you’re not dealing with furniture that the child may no longer like.
Custom carpentry can be expensive but it’s an investment in your home’s value. You can save money by using less expensive wood or MDF (medium-density fiberboard manufactured to look like wood). (AP)